looking for a robust DVD player

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Well-known member
Jan 6, 2005
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Cloverdale, BC
robust. won't break down. won't stop playing disks. won't start losing the clock.


i bought a midline sony around 1998. 3 years later it started to skip madly on new disks. only made it 3/4 of the way through the blues brothers before it jumped to the beginning. other disks performed similarily. i was told that the newer disks were a higher bit density and that i was SOL.

so i bought a higher end JVC and three years later it started rejecting disks. it either spat it out immediatley or it started to track badly, speckle the image and then spit out the disk. it took 6 months to get the extended warrentee honoured.

next i tried a $49 "noma". it played everything! and then about 3 weeks ago the drawer started sticking and last night i noticed that the DTS soundtrack on [insert name of embarressing movie] wouldn't maintain clock signal.


i haven't had troubles like this with CDs or LDs or VCRs. it just seems that DVD players and i don't get along.

so, i'm looking for a robust player. all the audio decoding is on my Bryston pre/pro so all i need is a good bitstream :)

what do people recommend for a long-lived DVD player?
I have great luck with Denon. I have owned four never a problem. Just kept upgrading. So depending on what you want to spend. the 3910 is excellent. Video is about the best there is. Also audio is great, If you want you can use your pre for redbook and the 3910 for sacd or dvd audio. Here is a detailed review on Denons as well as a more specfic rev. on the 3910 and the 5910

I'm currently using a Meridian 596 DVD. They do have one or two well known issues, normally related to the cooling fans getting noisy over time - but these are easily cured.

The 596 also has the advantage of being a world class CD player. I don't have any links, but check out the reviews that Stereophile gave it and you'll see what I mean.


In 1991 I bought a top-of-the-line Sony ES changer. It lasted 12 years before it started skipping and stopping. I still have it. It served me so well that I just can't let it go. I plan on getting it fixed one day.
With all the changes and advancements on DVD playes that have to handle all the 5" disc formats it's suprising that any DVD player can last longer than a year or so.

I've been very happy with a Panasonic XP-30 with the secret DCDi chip built in for progressive outputs. I got it brand new from a guy that found some at a sharper image store when every one else was sold out already. It beat out a $1K canadian Pioneer DV-37 for less than $300 cdn.

Would you even want to spend a lot on a DVD player now that HDDVD is on the horizon?
EricE said:
Would you even want to spend a lot on a DVD player now that HDDVD is on the horizon?

or with my track record for DVD players :)

even with the extended warentee on the JVC, living without a dvd player for 6 months or so while it lived in the shop was annoying. fortunately i have LD for just such an emergency.

heck LD versions of some movies are sometime better than DVDs. perhaps that is the problem. the DVD players know that deep down i really don't respect them or the medium.

having spent the bucks in the past and fared no better, i think that the bottom end denon is likely where i will end up, that is, the 1710. it has the BB audio chips, but not the Faroujda video chips like one model up (the 1910) however i have read that the Faroujda chips on the denons can cause blocking on the image.

since i will use external video processors (ie: a line doubler, probably from extron) on the big screen to tune in the sweet spot, i might even end up with a better image than from the Faroujda chipped models.

and if not, i'm only out $200. good thing my past experiences with dvd players haven't made me bitter :)
DVD has brought the image capabilities of projectors up a few notches. 480P can look almost HD given excellent mastering at the source. LD with PCM or AC3-RF can sound very very good but the 480i images look crap on a big screen....

My little $300 XP-30 more than held it's own against the Denon 5900 DVD player. Sure that last bit of image depth and detail wasn't there bit it also wasn't $1700 better IMHO. That was with a in home test over the weekend with several people also looking at the images produced. Audio was another story though. It did sound better in 2ch and 5.1 channel but the sound of 5.1 compressed sound processed and created by sound designers is not that specific anyway. How does a light saber or explosion sound in real life????
EricE said:
My little $300 XP-30 more than held it's own against the Denon 5900 DVD player.
i might be blind, but i can't see the XP-30 on panasonic.ca or panasonic.com

it does google nicely...
zaphod said:
i might be blind, but i can't see the XP-30 on panasonic.ca or panasonic.com

it does google nicely...

It's an old model that was sought after by many in the HT forums because of the hidden Faroujda video chip used for deinterlacing of the picture to 480P. Very low $$$ to performance ratio as posted in the Secrets of HT web site. I think it slipped by panasonic that it was not advertisied anywhere. Still sought after on ebay and used equipment sites. Denon had a almost clone call the 1600 but it cost a few more $$$.
EricE said:
My little $300 XP-30 more than held ...

well after doing nothing for the summer on this, i jumped on a denon 1600 on audiogon, but got shy when the deal went weird.

so i bid and won a panasonic RP82 from ebay this afternoon. same as the XP-30, but with dvd-a too.

faroujda chip, 3:2 pulldown... now i just have to wait for it's arrival. should fit well with he scaler i got earlier this week.

now i just need to convince "someone" that a CRT projector isn't really that big ....

thanks for all the advice.

For a very modest priced machine, I recently picked up a display model Panasonic RP-91 that was never run and was basically brand new. It's DVD-A and I've been really satisfied on the audio front. RP-91's got some bad press in their "P" mode, but that was before their last firmware updates. The older Panny units are certainly better than their latest units. I have an S27 as a bedroom unit (gift from my kids)-- works fine but certainly no comparison).

I run the RP-91 in the 480i mode with a Runco PFP-11 scaler, and it produces one awesome picture at 720p. If you can find any of the older Panny's (RP-82, 91, 50, etc.) that are low useage and in good condition, they are great units for the price, IMO.